The recognition, bestowed by the President of the French Republic, recognizes Bernard Kippelen's dedication to fostering research and academic collaboration between France and America. 

Bernard Kippelen, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been honored with the title of Knight of the French National Order of Merit (Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite), acknowledging his outstanding commitment to enhancing Franco-American scientific and academic ties. The recognition extends to his contributions to the France-Atlanta series of events and the profound influence of his research.

Kippelen, the current vice provost for International Initiatives and the Steven A. Denning Chair for Global Engagement, received the award in a ceremony at the Residence of France in Atlanta on November 6, 2023. 

The President of the French Republic had previously conferred the honor upon this year’s civilian recipients on June 2, 2023. The National Order of Merit is the second national Order of France after the Legion of Honor. Its purpose is to, “reward ‘distinguished merit’ and encourage the lifeblood of the country.” 

“On behalf of the Georgia Tech community, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Bernard, a true science diplomat, who has made extraordinary contributions to research and to strengthening ties between the United States and France” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “Georgia Tech is indebted to him for all he has done and continues to do to enhance our reach, reputation, and impact on the global stage." 

During the award ceremony, John McIntyre, the founding executive director of the Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), bestowed the medal upon Kippelen. President Cabrera and Anne-Laure Desjonquères, the consul general at Consulate of France in Atlanta, were joined by Kippelen's family, friends, and colleagues at the ceremony. 

“Professor Kippelen has been instrumental in fostering collaborations and partnerships and facilitating researcher and student mobility between France and the Southeast,” said Desjonquères. “The French consulate is profoundly grateful to Bernard Kippelen for his invaluable support to our annual series of events France-Atlanta, as well as to our exchange and mobility programs.” 

Kippelen joins Yves Berthelot (vice provost for International Initiatives, retd.), Marta H. Garcia (associate vice president for Development), and Steve McLaughlin (provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs) as fellow Georgia Tech recipients of the Knight of the French National Order of Merit distinction.  

In 2003, Bernard joined the Georgia Tech faculty and served as director of the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE) from 2011-2019. He is a co-founder and co-president of the Institut Lafayette, an innovation platform located at Georgia Tech-Europe in Metz, France. 

While at Georgia Tech, he has worked with the Office for Science and Technology (OST) of the Embassy of France to support the Technology Venture Accelerator (NETVA) program established to develop technological partnerships in the United States for young and innovative French startups. 

Kippelen was raised in Soultz, Alsace, France, and is a U.S. and French citizen. He studied at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France (Ph.D. 1990) and was a member of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Before joining Georgia Tech, he was on the faculty of the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona. 

Top photo caption:
Bernard Kippelen receiving the Knight of the French National Order of Merit on Nov. 6, 2023 at the Residence of France in Atlanta. In the photo are (L-R): Yves Berthelot, Beth Cabrera, Ángel Cabrera, Virginie Kippelen, Bernard Kippelen, Steve McLaughlin, Marta H. Garcia, John McIntyre, and Anne-Laure Desjonquères.